Master_gardener_medium_medium Minnesota Yard & Garden

University of Minnesota Extension Master Gardener volunteers are on-hand to answer Minnesotan's questions about home flower gardens, vegetable and fruit gardens, landscape design and maintenance, seed starting, garden soil, composting, and pest management.

(This group currently has 11 experts available to answer questions)

Questions asked to this group

Redbud Pruning Advice

Early this season, we planted two eastern redbud trees. They've done great and grown lots over the summer, but have become fairly leggy. I know that they tend to develop a sort of “weeping” shape, but this is kind of extreme. The branches have almost no actual branching. It’s just a long stick with leaves at the end. I love the shape when they don’t have leaves, but as you can imagine, it probably won’t make the biggest impact while blooming if it looks like this. Is there some way I can prune these branches to make the trees a bit bushier? And if so, when should I do it? The longest branch there is probably 4.5ft and has no branching. Thank you for any advice you can provide.


Washington County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago

Grass Types for Minnesota

I am trying to find some information for grass species that provide optimum lawn performance in the Minnesota region. I am thinking about a few things:

  1. How long the grass takes to grow
  2. Growing period i.e. season (months of the year) for best annual growth rate
  3. Resilience or toughness to use, public use, walking on it etc
I came across this article which is interesting but does not really deal with the specific local varieties for species to Minnesota

Does anyone have any experience in this area to point me in the right direction of specific grass species?

Scott County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago

Chinese beetles all over

What can I do to keep them out of the house? They are all over out and they find their way to get inside as well. I mixed citronela oil with water and sprayed but it doesn’t scare them much :( There are also other red and black beetle style insect that is all over. I am Close to corn fields, is that related to it? Thanks!

Washington County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago

Tons of pine needles

Hi I just moved to a house with many pine trees in the backyard and I started raking the pine needles on the ground. I have piles and piles of them right now. Two questions: do I need to remove them before snow hits or can I leave on the ground? Are they composting material? If so any tips on how to do it. Thanks!

Washington County Minnesota pine needles as mulch horticulture Posted 5 months ago

Mysterious Apostrophe in the swamp

I have a swamp, the bottom of which is (almost) entirely covered with swamp coon weed.
The water level is very low due to lack of rain, but I think the swamp may have springs. It has never completely dried in the past 20 years.
I noticed a "light spot" as I went past the other day. It is still there. It is about 1 ft x 2 ft.
The photo shows reflection of plants on the opposite shore.
The light water is milky/silty and when I stirred it with a stick it just seemed to get more silty.
It is about 8-12 inches deep. I have seen turtles, but no fish in the swamp.

What do you think could be causing it?
What should be the next step in my investigation?
Thanks for your ideas and suggestions.

Chisago County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago

Little black bugs at harvest time

How do you get rid of them what solution can I use I heard vinegar and Dawn Dish soap works is that true?

Renville County Minnesota insects Posted 5 months ago

How Concerned Should I Be About My Maple Tree?

Our Maple tree dropped its leaves two weeks ago very quickly. The same trees in the neighborhood are only slowly dropping theirs. I thought my tree had died, but the buds appear to be healthy. I'll let the pictures do the talking. Picture #1 is our tree. Picture #2 is a close up of a branch showing the buds. Picture #3 is a neighbor's tree. Should I be shopping for a new tree? Thanks for your help!

Washington County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago

Lilacs re-blooming in October?

I live in the Twin Cities. Today I noticed that my lilac bushes are starting to bloom again and growing new leaves as though it’s spring. I’m seeing this in at least 2 of the bushes I have. Why is this happening? Will they bloom again in the spring? Are they at risk of dying? They have never done this before.

Hennepin County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago

What is this plant?

I have seen a lot of this basal-leafed seedling while cleaning up my flower bed.
Could you, please help identify it?
Might it be pansies? petunias? or salvia? that has self-seeded?
Or do I need to wait until spring to see what it looks like?

Chisago County Minnesota english daisy Posted 5 months ago

Dark/diseased pepper seeds

I have several peppers that look good on the outside, but when I cut them I see darkened/diseased seeds.
This occurs most often when the peppers have turned red, not so much when they are still green.
Most often the pepper flesh is not disfigured and it still seems to smell and taste ok.
Sometimes the flesh, too, has turned dark on the inside.
What causes this?

Chisago County Minnesota Posted 5 months ago